Predicting Swaps

by Bigmoran // September 30, 2015

One of the most difficult arena concepts to master is the ability to predict when an enemy team will change targets. For some, this seems like an impossible task: how could anyone know exactly what an enemy player will do. For more experienced players, being able to recognize enemy swaps is just one small part of the intricate arena experience. In any case, being aware of enemy swaps is essential for being able to control the arena environment. In this guide, I will cover some of the hints you can rely on for predicting enemy swaps.

Ideal Comp for RBGs, Updated for Patch 6.2.2

by Bigmoran // September 21, 2015

Patch 6.2.2 introduced damage tuning changes to Affliction Warlocks. Leading up to this patch, Affliction Warlocks were by far the strongest DPS class in RBGs. There were a few reasons for this, namely their spread pressure, interrupts, and UA dispel protection. Mass dispelling or even single target dispelling could lead to instant death if a single Affliction Warlock had UA on multiple targets. Team fights were centered around rotting the enemy team with unhealable spread pressure. All in all, Warlocks were definitely the best DPS class to have in an RBG team. Despite the recent damage nerfs to Affliction Warlocks, the RBG meta hasn’t dramatically changed. While it definitely allows for a bit of wiggle room in team composition, RBG comps are still looking similar to the pre-patch variants.

Post Tournament Discussion

by Bigmoran // September 18, 2015

The World of Warcraft Americas Regionals tournament has come to an end (forgive me as I may refer to it as the NA Regionals). There have been three teams that will now advance to Blizzcon representing the Americas region. These teams are: Juveniles, Tempo Storm, and FollowESports. My last article was more of a caution than anything else. It served as a guide on how to direct your attitudes when watching (consuming, even) tournaments and how to digest their outcome. This article will be more of a reflection on the tournament itself and its outcome.

North American Regionals: What Tournaments Tell Us

by Bigmoran // September 10, 2015

As many of you are well aware of at this time, there will be an eight team North American World of Warcraft Regional Tournament this weekend. Three of these eight teams will advance to play center stage at Blizzcon 2015. While the tensions and expectations are high, it is important to remember what tournaments can and cannot tell us about the current state of the game. While many people look at tournaments as representations of class balance, they tend to ignore the nuances of the tournament setting and how it differs from ladder play.

Finding Arena Partners

by fknwings // September 10, 2015

How many times have you logged into World of Warcraft to queue arena only to log out fifteen minutes later because you can’t find someone to play with? Finding partners is one of the most complicated parts of the World of Warcraft gameplay. I have come across players who have terrible attitudes, lack important skills and game knowledge, live in different time zones, have insane work schedules, as well as a variety of other reasons as to why they are not viable partners to play arena with. In this article, I’m going to relay basic information and tools you can use to expand your friends list, so you can be prepared to avoid disappointment every time you log into the game we all love.

Every Orc for Himself: Racial Changes in Patch 6.2.2

by Bigmoran // September 7, 2015

Aside from damage tuning changes to Affliction Warlocks, one of the most anticipated changes in Patch 6.2.2 was the buff to Horde Racials. These buffs seem long overdue and fit well within Blizzard’s recent design paradigm to indirectly nerf the Human racial (ie through the buffing of Medallion trinkets).  Racials, while not being the focal point of class design, do sometimes benefit certain classes more than others.  In this article, I will go through each racial change and explain its interactions with specific classes.

Changing Paradigms in Healer Positioning

by Bigmoran // July 8, 2015

If you have queued 3v3 at all during this expansion, one of the things you will quickly notice is that most teams have either a mage, hunter, or warlock as one of their DPS. There are a few reasons for this, namely that these three classes generally pair well together with other DPS and that they all have very strong CC effects. The popularity of these three classes has caused me to rethink how I should position in matchups.

Adjusting to the WoD Meta as a Restoration Druid

by Bigmoran // June 9, 2015

Clarity in an Ever Changing Game

The announcement of Patch 6.2 signals that the current PvP season is about to end. In the past few months, the playstyles of each class has pretty much been solidified. Players have tested various talents, specs, and comps. Through this rigorous testing the meta has been developed. Each class its own specific playstyle; mastering this playstyle is what it takes to be successful.

What is the Resto Druid Meta?

The ability pruning of WoD removed some of the utility that Resto Druids once had. The key changes to abilities include the removal of Nature’s Swiftness and Soul of the Forest effecting Cyclone. In MoP it was significantly easier to land Cyclones on enemy targets. Because of this, Resto Druids tend to play a more passive and conservative role in arena. This includes lots of max ranging and pillar humping. Overall, Druids feel more like a traditional healer, prioritizing positioning and healing over a more aggressive CC-oriented playstyle. This isn’t to say that Druids should not be actively CCing enemy players. It is always important to try and optimize use of every ability in your toolkit, but an aggressive playstyle is definitely not as forgiving as it used to be, especially with the removal of Symbiosis Iceblock.

One huge change in WoD was the reduction of critical strike multipliers in PvP. Instead of critical strikes doing 200% normal damage, they now do 150% increased damage against enemy players. What this means is that crits are now significantly weaker than what they have been historically. What this means for Resto Druids is that Glyph of Barkskin is not nearly as powerful as it used to be. In fact, of the Major Glyphs that are used for PvP, Glyph of Barkskin is one of the weakest options. Barkskin is no longer the primary defensive ability for Resto Druids. Bear Form has replaced Barkskin as the best defensive ability for Resto Druids. While in Bear Form, your armor provides an additional 27% physical damage reduction. Moreover, powershifting in and out of Bear Form will proc Glyph of the Shapemender, a nearly free mana cost heal on a 5 second cooldown. Shifting into Bear grants 10 rage and enables use of Frenzied Regeneration, a decent heal costing 0 mana. All in all, Barkskin has been replaced by Bear Form as the most powerful defensive ability for Resto Druids. This adds to the more passive role that Resto Druids are adapting. In some cases, it is more beneficial to your team to sit in Bear Form near a pillar than to push out for CC in caster form. Getting caught out of Bear Form in a stun against a melee cleave can be disastrous. The best way to mitigate incoming damage is by sitting in Bear Form while spamming Frenzied Regeneration.

The healing rotation for Druids has also changed considerably since MoP. Lifebloom no longer has stacks, meaning that when you apply it once to a target, all your work is done. Additionally, all HoTs are modified by a pandemic effect. What this means is that using a Lifebloom on a target that already has Lifebloom will refresh the heal with an additional duration. Applying a Lifebloom to a target without the buff gives the target a 15-second duration Lifebloom. Refreshing a Lifebloom on a target will give them a 20-second duration Lifebloom. Once again, this applies to all HoT effects.  Without the need to stack Lifebloom, there are more free globals within the healing rotation. This has opened up a new talent option in the talent tree. Force of Nature is quickly becoming the talent of choice for most Resto Druids. The ability can be used in all shapeshift forms and provides decent HPS assuming that the targets do not line of sight the treants. They can be used preemptively on targets (such as right before a CC lands on the Resto Druid) to mitigate enemy damage. Lastly, they can even heal through an enemy Rogue’s smokebomb.

Powerful Comps for Resto Druids

RMD (Rogue, Frost Mage, Resto Druid)

RMD is currently one of the best (if not the best) comps for Resto Druids. It has lots of burst damage paired with tons of control over the enemy team. Polymorph and Cyclone do not share DR, making careful use of these abilities devastating when lined up on enemy healers.

Turbo Cleave (Warrior, Enhancement Shaman, Resto Druid)

Turbo Cleave is one of two physical damage cleaves that Resto Druids can play in. The comp is designed to wear down enemy healers. Enhancement Shamans spend a good majority of the game removing enemy buffs with Purge. On top of their utility, Shamans provide really strong off-heals to their team. Warriors pump out steady single target damage if specced Fury and spread pressure if specced Arms. The combination of Purge with Warrior damage makes this comp incredibly powerful in long games.

TSG (Warrior, Frost Death Knight, Resto Druid)

The second popular physical damage cleave is TSG. This comp works very similar to Turbocleave, with a focus on longevity over short duration games. Warrior and DK damage is consistently high throughout the entire matchup. The combination of multiple interrupts and stuns makes this combination very effective at shutting down enemy casters.

Shatterplay (Frost Mage, Shadow Priest, Resto Druid)

Shatterplay, or Godcomp as its often called, is a comp oriented around control. Mages provide their team with lots of control over enemy players with Polymorph, Pet Nova, Deep Freeze, and Counterspell. Shadow Priests are a versatile class with the ability to off heal and Mass Dispell their partners out of CC. Offensively, Shadow Priests can pump out lots of burst damage while controlling enemy players with Psychic Scream and Silence.

Extremely Helpful Macro

by Bigmoran // May 4, 2015

Fixing an Annoying Problem

Too often I have switched talents before an arena game starting, only to realize mid-game that I had forgotten to put the new talent on my bars. I’m sure everyone has at one point made this mistake. It can be quite frustrating, especially if it causes you to lose the arena match. Recently I discovered an easy fix to this problem. At the launch of WoD, a new macro command was introduced that allows you to input abilities directly from your talent tree. The syntax of this new command is the following:

/cast [talent:row#/column#] Talent Name

The Macro in Action

It’s easier to see how this works using a working version of this macro. Here is the macro being used for the level 45 talent tier for Mages:

/cast  [talent:3/1] Ring of Frost
/cast [talent:3/2] Ice Ward
/cast [talent:3/3] Frostjaw

When the macro is placed on your bars, it will change to whatever ability is currently selected in your talents. If you respec to a new talent, the macro will automatically update to that ability. In the macro you must include every ability you intend on using from the respective talent tier.

Once again, the first number in the macro refers to the row # of the talent; the second number refers to the column number of the talent.

Hope you guys find this macro format helpful. Since I have discovered it, I have had no talent tree woes mid arena.

Ideal Comp for RBGs, Updated for Patch 6.1

by Bigmoran // April 21, 2015

Best Comp for RBGs – Updated for Patch 6.1

It was really early in the expansion when I made my original “best comp” for RBGs guide. Since then the game has changed: class balance is different than what it was during launch, the meta game has shifted dramatically, damage is overall higher, etc. After playing countless RBGs on multiple classes this season, I have reevaluated my original list so that it accurately reflects the current meta. Below is my new list for the ideal RBG comp.

The Core

Balance Druid: Although they have taken considerable nerfs to Starfall, Boomkins still remain one of the top RBG specs. Boomkins have the flexibility of choosing between high AoE damage by multidotting with Starfall or causing massive burst damage with instant-cast Starsurges. This class excels on all maps and is an extremely good 1v1 class (making them great at ninjaing bases from a solo defender).

Shadow Priest: Shadow Priests are an untapped resource in RBGs. They provide their team with lots of spread pressure as well as burst damage through Mind Blast and Devouring Plague. Shadow Priests excel in team fights, shutting down enemy healers with their Silence and Psychic Scream. Their primary damaging ability, Cascade, is quite a nuisance–interrupting healers from drinking and breaking rogues out of stealth.

Frost DK (With Blood Offspec): Frost Deathknights provide powerful single target damage. They provide unique utility to each team in the form of Death Grip, allowing them to pull enemies into unfavorable positioning. Moreover, DKs can respec on FC maps to Blood, allowing them to become very tanky flag carriers.

Subtlety Rogue: In my opinion, Rogues are the most essential part of any RBG team. Rogues excel in team fights, controlling the enemy team through Cheap Shots and Kidney Shots. If a Rogue can connect to a target with his team, there is a good chance that target will die or will be forced to use major defensive cooldowns. Lately, Rogues have seen some use as solo defenders on node capture maps. By using Sap on targets that are attempting to capture a base, a solo rogue can delay a node capture for a very long time. Moreover, Rogues are an excellent pair with Balance Druids on FC maps; both classes can stealth behind the enemy team and attempt kills on flag carriers behind enemy lines.

Warlock (Affliction, Destro, or Demonology): Warlocks remain one of the best classes in RBGs. They provide their team with lots of control with their spammable Fear ability. If used effectively on enemy healers, it can set up and secure kills on the enemy team. Affliction Warlocks cause massive AoE pressure, OOMing enemy healers over time. Destruction and Demonology Warlocks cause massive burst damage through Chaos Bolt and Chaos Wave.

Mistweaver Monk: Monks are one of the strongest RBG healers. Their Life Cocoon has a very short cooldown and is extremely powerful at negating enemy kill attempts. Additionally, Monks have lots of mobility–including Tiger’s Lust and Transcendence–making them great healers in movement intensive fights.

Discipline Priest: Disc Priests are also very powerful healers for RBGs. They provide their team with absorption from enemy damage with their Power World: Shield ability. This spell is an excellent way to preemptively reduce damage on their team. Moreover, Disc Priests provide their team with a major defensive cooldown (Pain Suppression) as well as added utility from their Leap of Faith ability.

The Great

Hunter: The Hunter class has seen an increase in popularity lately in RBGs. Much of the meta game strategy on Eye of the Storm is focused around the Hunter using their Explosive Trap to knock enemy healers off the map. Hunters are easily one of the best (if not the best) solo base defenders. With their instant cast burst damage, self healing, and Roar of Sacrifice, a single hunter is well equipped to defend a base.

Arms Warrior: Arms Warriors are much like DKs: they are tanky DPS classes that cause massive pressure on the enemy team. Although they don’t have the added utility of Death Grip, Warriors do provide their team with Rallying Cry, which can be a life saver in high pressure situations.

Frost Mage: Mages are a very dynamic class in an RBG setting. With their Water Elemental and Ice Block abilities, they are excellent base defenders. In team fights they offer powerful single target damage. Their sustained damage is quite low, but what they sacrifice in damage they definitely make up for in control with their Counterspell, Deep Freeze, and Polymorph abilities.

Final Verdict for “ideal” comp:

1. Balance Druid

2. Frost DK (with Blood Offspec for WSG and Twin Peaks)

3. Subtlety Rogue

4. Affliction Warlock

5. Shadow Priest x 3

6. Mistweaver Monk

7. Disc Priest

8. Holy Paladin

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